Friday, 28 August 2015

View from my Window

I am sitting here at the computer when something caught my eye; a lumbering, inconsistent flight of something odd shaped.  I stood at my desk and snapped photos through the window with my cell phone so the shots are not as clear as I like.  I ran outside with my camera but could not find them anywhere. I always shoot first in case such thing happens. Insects are not patient subjects.

I give you this very large photo so you can see the wasp holding on tight with two sets of legs.  In all the photos the katydid's legs are hanging so I am supposing that the wasp had already delivered its paralyzing sting.  The wasp will bring this treasure to its nest and lay an egg on it then seal it up in one of the cells.  When the egg hatches, the larvae will feed on the katydid that has been preserved because it is still alive and just not able to move.

It looks very much like a mud dauber wasp which I recognize because of its petiole, the narrow abdominal segment that joins the rest of the abdomen to its thorax. You have seen its nest of mud on walls and fence posts. The holes to the cells of these nests are very narrow and I first thought this wasp was very silly to catch a prey that was too large.

Silly me, insects know what they are doing.  The mud dauber wasp selects a specific kind of spider and can cram from ten to twenty paralyzed ones into a single cell with one egg.
This must be a ground-digger wasp. It has nests in the ground with cells big enough for katydids or the cicadas which they dig up for their young.

Glad I noticed.
What have you noticed today?


  1. I like the picture. It looks quite artsy. I don't like the story of the mean wasp but I guess it's just doing what it knows to survive.

    We had a new to us bug that turned out to be a pigeon horntail. I didn't get a picture but we did watch it until we realized it was laying eggs into our deck. I had read that the eggs are coated with a fungus that turns the wood into mush so the larvae can crawl out. Not on my deck, please!

  2. Nature can be so beautiful and horrifying at the same time. I have a problem with mice in my kitchen. The live traps are not working so do I let them stay in my house? Just like your deck; where do we draw the line as to their space and ours.